When sending your child to camp, talking about the topic of homesickness is important for a successful experience. The more parents can do to get children excited about their time at summer camp, the better equipped they will be to navigate through missing home. Covenant Harbor put together five tips for homesickness to help parents prepare their child for the possibility of dealing with homesickness while they’re at camp.
Learn About Camp
Weeks beforehand, start talking about camp, show them the camp’s website, and share any fun details you know about the camp. Talk specifically about the topic of dealing with homesickness. Explain that it is normal to miss home, but there are ways to keep their mind off it and have fun at camp! Scheduling a visit or tour of camp can also help your child gain confidence.
Encourage your child to immerse themselves into the summer camp life. Keeping them busy at camp is a very useful tool against homesickness, and at Covenant Harbor we have tons of activities to help pass the time! Should your child start to feel homesick it’s important for them to share that with their camp counselor, they will help them through that tough time.
Explain how long they will be at camp by comparing it to another experience they have had before: “Remember that trip we took to Colorado last year? Well, camp will be a little shorter than that.” This helps children have a benchmark for how long they will be away.
Time Away From Home
Some children also respond well to “practice rounds” of camp. Try sending them overnight to a friend’s house or to their grandparents’ for a few nights. Children will then get used to being away from home for a while if they haven’t done so before.
Connect To Home
When the time comes to begin camp, encourage them to bring a family picture. Covenant Harbor also allows parents to send letters, emails, and care packages to their children while they are at camp, and children can write letters or emails back to their parents. Children will stay connected to home, but still fully participate in the camp experience.
When the week of camp is over, soak up the stories your camper shares with you. Listening to them includes you in the experience, and you can start thinking of ways to prepare for next year at camp!
Covenant Harbor is accredited by ACA (American Camp Association) and a member of the CCCA (Christian Camp and Conference Association) organization.
Blog Post by Stefanie Wessel